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Superman Returns Admirably

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 07/03/2006

So, I saw Superman Returns yesterday. I was 8 years old when the Christopher Reeve movie came out. I loved it, and was ready for yet another superhero re-interpretation ala the many faces of Batman, lately. It was with this mindset that I was surprised and pleased that Superman Returns was essentially a 2.5 hour homage to the “original” Superman movie–from the instant of opening credits, where the music and titling effects were the same, to the closing scene. It was clearly an attempt to capture the original magic from almost 30 years ago for a new generation. They succeeded.

Sissy Spacek plays an excellent Gene Hackman playing the comical Lex Luthor. When he breaks the kryptonite meteorite out of a museum, it’s labeled as coming from Addis Ababa. His master plan involves new valuable real estate. I was almost ready to hear reference to Otisville. OTISVILLE?!?! Fans of the original Superman movie will remember.

That’s not to say that the entire movie was rehash and formulaic. OK, well much of it was. But they did an excellent job of keeping continuity with the original movie, contriving a plausible 5-year Superman absence, that sets the stage for a his reintroduction, and some strange vibes that we haven’t seen explored in a comic book movie adaptation. And exactly the way the first movie permanently added facets to the Superman epic as told by comic books, the movie succeeds in adding an unexpected twist that fans of the comic books probably never thought they would see–or more accurately thought could never happen, based on the comcial essays on the topic of super-sperm by SciFi writer, Larry Niven. It’s akin to making Spiderman’s webshooters biological. The comic book writers will have some interesting decisions about whether to “absorb” this facet of Superman or not.

Continuity-wise, Superman Returns would more aptly be viewed back-to-back with the first Christopher Reeves movie rather than after the last movie (4) with the nuclear disarmament, or the Kryptonian super-villain (2) or the Richard Pryor one (3). It was interesting that they named it Superman Returns. They could have just as easily gone with Superman 5. But it has been so many years, that “Returns” is much more apt. And the casting clearly was an attempt to recapture the original flair, including the new Superman himself, Brandon Routh, who plays a convincing Christopher Reeve playing a goofy Clark Kent. It was almost like watching Jim Carrey play Andy Kaufman play Latke in Man on the Moon.